The New rachellerathbone.com

At long last, I found the time to rebuild my blog!

October 21, 2019

Back in 2016 I discovered coding and quickly fell in love. I taught myself some basics and got to work on creating my original blog. At the time I was incredibly proud and dove into writing posts about the things I was learning. Later that same year, I retired from teaching and enrolled in a six month coding bootcamp course at Galvanize. I graduated in January of 2017 and started working at a startup the following month. I began wanting to blog at that point in time but I was soon thrown into the deep end, being the only one on the website where I worked, and I just found it hard to find the time. Later that year, when I finally found some time, returning to the codebase I once loved was no longer something I was proud of.


Built in HTML and CSS, all the content was embedded directly into the HTML elements. I had imported the entire Bootstrap library and remember having a hell of a time trying to override some of the Bootstrap styles. In addition to being bloated, my css just became a complete mess of css files, inline css, and waaaaaaaay too many media queries. Additionally, every image I had on the site was over 2MB because, at that point in time, I had no awareness of the importance of not adding huge assets to your codebase.

I really wanted to rebuild my site from scratch but life was busy at the startup, I then fell pregnant, and in March of 2018, became a parent. Being a full-time working parent left little for anything else and it has only been this year, since my son turned one and I changed roles, that I've found myself with a little bit of time here and there.

Right around the time that I started to settle into the rhythm of being a working mum, I was contacted by someone at Packt Publishing and asked to author a React and GatsbyJS course. I'd been working with React since back at Galvanize and picked up Gatsby shortly after beginning my first job. I was delighted and decided to use the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: author a course and rebuild my blog. I designed the course to include all the important pieces one needs to know when working with Gatsby and ensured that anyone who takes the course, would walk away with an app they could use as a springboard for their own application. By the end of recording 7 sections and 34 videos, I had successfully rebuilt my blog.

Just like anyone who takes my course can, I'm now using what I had at the end of the 7 sections for my own site. I'm working on changing the design (it's definitely in need of some love!) and adding features but am so much happier with where my blog is now than where it has been for the past few years. Now, don't get me wrong, if you're just getting into programming and HTML and CSS is all you know and you want to build a site, don't let anything I've said stop you. In fact, I strongly encourage you to dive right in. Do the best that you can do at any given point in time. If in months or years from now you look back at the code and cringe, be proud of the things that you've learned since then, the things that make you want to do the same thing but better.

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